A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish—out of focus or poorly framed or composed. Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations, sunsets, children playing, group photos, pets, tourist attractions and the like.
The snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large scale by Eastman Kodak, which introduced the Brownie box camera in 1900. Kodak encouraged families to use the Brownie to capture moments in time and to shoot photos without being concerned with producing perfect images. Kodak advertising urged consumers to "celebrate the moments of your life" and find a "Kodak moment".
The "snapshot camera" tradition continues with inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras and camera phones that fully automate flash, ISO, focus, shutter speed, and other functions, making the shooting of a good-quality image simple. Expert photographers, who are better able to control the focus point, may use shallow depth of field to achieve more pleasing images by blurring the background and making the subject stand out. Other photographers consider these cameras the purest form of photographic instrument in providing images with the characteristics that distinguish photography from other visual media - its ubiquity, instantaneity, multiplicity and verisimilitude.
- The Snapshot Aesthetic Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles
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